Ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Williams driver Felipe Massa has announced his retirement from Formula 1, announcing that he will not drive in the 2017 Season.
Felipe Massa Announces Formula One Retirement
Massa made his Formula 1 debut back in 2002 for Sauber, moving to Ferrari to partner Michael Schumacher in 2006. Massa remained at the Italian team until the end of the 2013 season, being replaced by Kimi Raikkonen. For the 2014 season, Massa then moved to his current team, Williams, partnering Valtteri Bottas for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Massa’s most successful season came in 2008 when he was driving for Ferrari, finishing the season in second place in the drivers standings, being beaten to the world championship by Lewis Hamilton by one point.
Currently, Massa has had 11 wins in Formula 1, starting in pole position on a total of 16 occasions in the 244 Formula 1 races he has taken part in. Having 244 race starts in Formula 1, Massa is one of the most experienced Formula 1 drivers on the grid currently.
With Massa leaving Williams at the end of the 2016 season and going into retirement, a big question mark surrounds the driver line up for Williams in 2017, with Jenson Button being one of many names linked to a drive for the Grove based team.
Jenson Button is one of the favourites to replace Massa at Williams, with Button’s current place at McLaren being under jeopardy, with rumours circulating that Stoffel Vandoorne will replace him at McLaren for 2017
Other drivers tipped for a Williams drive for 2017 have also included Sergio Perez, Felipe Nasr, and GP2’s Alex Lynn.
Sergio Perez currently races for Force India, and although Perez has been confirmed at the team for 2017, speculation still surrounds where he will be for the 2017 season, with the Mexican’s sponsors believing that he can only progress further up the grid if he moved to another team, with Williams being one of the teams linked to his name. Perez has also been linked to a Renault drive for 2017.
Felipe Nasr currently races for Sauber in Formula 1 and has done since 2015 alongside Marcus Ericsson. Nasr has not been confirmed by Sauber for the 2017 season, however, in 2014 acted as the official test driver for Williams. Could Nasr be a candidate for a Williams drive in 2017?
Alex Lynn currently races in the GP2 series for DAMS, and is the current development driver for Williams. Lynn was once part of the Red Bull Young Driver Program until joining Williams in 2015, indicating that he has ties to Williams already. Lynn currently lies in seventh place in the GP2 Series, having a total of two wins and four podiums this season.
With Massa retiring at the end of this year, there is potential for the Formula 1 grid to be shaken up, with the Brazilian being instrumental in how the Formula 1 grid will look in 2017. Nevertheless, Massa has been a key figure in F1 since 2002 and will be missed from the end of the season, moving into retirement.